Every Marvel Cinematic Universe Movie Released So Far

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been dominating pop culture for the past decade - building a sprawling superhero universe that spans movies and TV shows. With eighteen MCU movies released so far, and plenty more already planned, it can be difficult to keep track of all the different superheroes and their respective franchises and team-ups. To help you out, here's our breakdown of every Marvel movie released so far (in chronological order).

In addition to a breakdown of the films, we're also including release info and the final global box office total (unadjusted for inflation). Previously, we put together a complete MCU Movie & TV viewing guide; however, our new breakdown is the easiest way to keep track of all the movies, characters, and storylines that Marvel Studios has released in the ten-plus years they've been building a shared universe.

This Page: MCU Phase One

Page 2:  MCU Phase Two

Page 3:  MCU Phase Three

Iron Man

Robert Downey Jr. in Iron Man 2008

Director: Jon Favreau

Release Date: May 2, 2008

Box Office: $585.2 million

In many ways, Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark is the face of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He made his debut in the first ever MCU movie, and Tony's journey from selfish billionaire to flawed superhero has in many ways become the blueprint for MCU origin stories. Jon Favreau's Iron Man received rave reviews and delighted comic book fans, especially when the post-credits scene teased the eventual arrival of the Avengers.

The Incredible Hulk

edward norton incredible hulk superhero actors never sequel

Director: Louis Leterrier

Release Date: June 13, 2008

Box Office: $263.4 million

You'd be forgiven for not realizing that Louis Letterier's The Incredible Hulk is an MCU movie. It was the first and only MCU entry to be distributed by Universal Pictures, who still hold the Hulk solo movie rights (which is why Hulk has since only appeared in team-ups and guest spots). Bruce Banner actor Edward Norton was recast with Mark Ruffalo when Hulk returned in The Avengers, and Ruffalo has held the role ever since. Though plenty of fans enjoyed The Incredible Hulk, it remains the least successful MCU movie financially, and received mixed reviews from critics.

Iron Man 2

Decisions Ruined Movies Iron Man 2

Director: Jon Favreau

Release Date: May 7, 2010

Box Office: $623.9 million

Iron Man 2 is notable for including the first appearance of Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff a.k.a. Black Widow, and also the first appearance of Don Cheadle as James "Rhodey" Rhodes (played by Terrence Howard in Iron Man). It starred Mickey Rourke as Ivan Vanko, the first in a long line of MCU villains whose main motivation was getting revenge upon Tony Stark. Sam Rockwell played Justin Hammer, a rival weapons manufacturer who eventually teams up with Vanko. 

Related: A Chronological History of The Marvel Cinematic Universe


Thor 2011

Director: Kenneth Branagh

Release Date: May 6, 2011

Box Office: $449.3 million

In the fourth MCU movie, little-known Australian actor Chris Hemsworth beamed down from Asgard to steal hearts (and smash cups), with his infectious grin and blond locks. True to the Tony Stark formula, Thor Odinson is a powerful and arrogant figure who is brought low, and learns a few important life lessons on his path to becoming a superhero. Thor introduced Natalie Portman as Jane Foster, in the start of a sweeping romance that would eventually end in an off-screen break-up. It also included the first appearance of Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye, as well as debuting fan-favorite villain Loki (Tom Hiddleston).

Captain America: The First Avenger

Director: Joe Johnston

Release Date: July 22, 2011

Box Office: $370.6 million

After four present-day movies, Marvel went back in time to World War II and introduced a skinny kid called Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), who was determined to fight for his country despite being physically unfit to do so. Fortune shone down on Steve in the form of a super-soldier serum, which granted him incredible strength, speed, and agility, but left his good heart unchanged. The First Avenger also saw the first appearance of Sebastian Stan as Bucky Barnes, who would later return as the Winter Soldier. Meanwhile, Steve's love interest Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) went on to star in her own TV show. The movie also featured the first of the Infinity Stones: the Space Stone, which is contained in a vessel called the Tesseract.

Marvel's The Avengers

Director: Joss Whedon

Release Date: May 4, 2012

Box Office: $1.519 billion

The crowning glory of the MCU's Phase One, The Avengers brought together every superhero that had been introduced in previous entries for a massive battle against Loki and his Chitauri army. It also marked the first appearance (in a mid-credits scene) of cosmic baddie Thanos (Josh Brolin). The Avengers crystallized the cinematic universe model and, due to its success, has been perhaps the most influential movie event of the past decade. In the wake of The Avengers, everyone wanted to get in on the cinematic universe game: Warner Bros. announced a slate of connected DC movies; Universal put together plans for a shared monster universe; and Legendary Pictures planned another "MonsterVerse" that would bring together behemoths like Godzilla and King Kong.

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